My RV is my baby. I’ve loved the great outdoors even as a kid. Now that I have a family of my own, I’m enjoying it all the more.
Frequent trips with my wife, the kids, and our dog have always been fun. Camping for us is not just for summers, we do it all year round. We do dry camping, workamping, winter camping, and even spend days at RV Parks. Any kind of camping excites us.
This means that we use our RV numerous times a year. If time permits, we get to go at least once a month. This also means, our RV is exposed to many elements during the trip.
In the summertime, extreme heat and dirt are your worst enemies. In the winter, you need to fight the cold extreme cold. And mind you, these are just some of the known elements you need to be wary of for your RV’s maximum care.
They must be addressed before they cause permanent damage to your motorhome’s paint. Washing and waxing you RV is an important maintenance requirement. I go into detail on each below, but here’s the list of the best RV wash and wax products we review:
- Star Brite RV Wash and Wax
- Gel-Gloss RV Wash and Wax
- Camco 40493 Pro-Strength Wash and Wax
- Thetford Premium RV Wash and Wax
- Meguiar’s Inc. M14332 Rinse-free Wash-N-Wax
- Camco 40922 Armada Marine Wash & Wax Cleaner
- Aero Cosmetics Car Wash Wax Kit
- Meguiar’s M5001 Marine/RV One Step Cleaner Wax
- TriNova Waterless Car Wash & Wax Kit
- Mothers 05674 California Gold Carnauba Wash & Wax
- Meguiar’s M-4965 MG Fiberglass Oxidation Removal Kit
- Mothers 91532 Marine Wash & Wax
Washing and waxing serves as preventive maintenance that you can use on your vehicle at least once every 6 months. Some would suggest that when you come home from a trip with too much road grime and dirt, it would be good to wax your RV, too. But we have three young kids and nobody has time for that much cleaning.
Either way, having a good wash and wax product will help you protect your RV’s surface and prevent any damage. Here’s why.
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Benefits of Using RV Wash and Wax
Your RV’s maintenance is not limited to winterizing, keeping your water system in good condition, and changing of filters every now and then.
As much as we keep the interior in tip-top shape, we should pay as much attention to its exterior.
We sometimes think that washing your RV’s surface with water and regular car soap is enough. At first, it will seem fine.
Over time, you will realize that without using an RV wash and wax, your RV’s paint gradually loses its regular glow. While you may think using such a product is inconvenient at times, it’s more important to think of it as an investment.
While water and soap can get the dirt off the paint, it’s really not designed to protect it. It will, on the other hand, make the paint look dull and older in the long run.
The good thing about having a dedicated RV wash and wax is that most products do not contain harmful chemicals. Having such products is like hitting two birds with one stone: you get something that’s not harsh on your paint while having something that’s environment-friendly.
While not all products are the same, you can easily look for those with biodegradable formulas but are strong enough to make your RV squeaky clean. The less harmful chemicals a product has, the less harsh it is on your RV’s surface.
Remember that having a soap that is packed with chemicals will wear down the paint and lead to more irreversible or costly damages.
Those products that are specially designed for RVs do have the same effect as regular soap. Having a wash and wax product cleans and waxes your RV in one step.
This means that while you’re getting all the nasty dirt off the surface, you’re protecting it from the sun while giving it a glossy finish at the same time. Additionally, it helps avoid water spots, too.
If you’re looking for a gentle cleaner with wax for the first time or want to switch products for some reason, I’ve listed down the top products for 2020 so far.
The 12 Best RV Wash and Wax Products for 2020
If you’re looking for something economical, this is one good option for you. It cleans and improves the shine of your RV using one formula. Not only can you save money, but you can also save time. No need to wash and wax separately.
I say it’s economical because it’s so concentrated that you need only a few capfuls to clean your RV. You can already remove dust, mud, road grime, mildew, and bug debris with that tiny usage of the formula.
It contains PTEF polymers that keep your paint glossy while protecting it from harmful UV rays to prevent fading. The polymers serve as a protective coating to help eliminate any forthcoming harmful elements.
While it is strong enough to remove such elements, it does not do any harm to your decals. It’s non-toxic and biodegradable. Unlike other cleaners, Star Brite RV Wash and Wax has the ability to remove nasty dirt without removing the wax or harming the paint.
This means that your RV will look shiny for a long time.
The reason Gel-Gloss RV Wash and Wax is included in this list is because of the good reviews it got from its users. While there are a countable few that said it didn’t work on their RVs, you’ll find more users saying it worked great on theirs.
It’s a highly concentrated cleaner using bar soap as its main component. It’s phosphate-free and is also biodegradable. This means it’s not harmful to your vehicle at all.
This 3-in-1 product cleans the surface, makes it shinier, and at the same time protects it from elements such as road grime, dust, and other kinds of dirt. It doesn’t leave out steaks and water spots, leaving your RV clean and glossy without removing previously applied wax.
Gel-Gloss RV Wash and Wax is economical, too. A quart of this solution can create up to sixteen gallons of cleaner, so you get to clean your rig every now and then without spending much. Periodically applying it will help you maintain the exterior condition of your RV.
Not only that, but this product is also known to be versatile. It works on other surfaces and materials such as wood, poly finishes, metal, rubber, and fiberglass.
With its carnauba wax content, it protects these surfaces just the same as it protects your RV’s paint.
Camco is a reputable brand in this industry. A number of RVers swear this cleaner works great on their rigs.
It has a blend of emulsifying agents and natural waxes that works three ways: it cleans, shines, and protects your RV in one application. After cleaning the surface, it leaves it shinier and at the same time shields it from water spots or any beading even without buffing activities.
It’s simple to use and saves you a lot of time and effort. All you have to do is dilute it as instructed, apply it on your vehicle’s surface, rinse it, and dry it. Its anionic and non-ionic surfactants will give you a finish as if it’s been buffed even when it’s not.
It’s safe for all surfaces and is made of 100% carnauba wax which helps give your RV a protective coating and a glossy finish.
Thetford is known for its overall performance and it shows on the actual users’ reviews.
People who are looking for a versatile cleaner should look into this product. Thetford Premium RV Wash and Wax does not only work on RVs. It also works on cars, boats, motorcycles, ATVs, and snowmobiles among others.
You can use this on any of your vehicles after any road trip where your RV has accumulated road grime, bugs, black streaks, dust, mud, or any other dirt. Applying this on the surface coats it and leaves it with a shiny and water-repellent finish to protect it against UV rays and future dirt.
Its biodegradable formula is non-abrasive and safe for all clear surfaces. It doesn’t damage paint, decals, and other coatings but leaves a protective shine instead.
Meguiar’s has been providing sophisticated vehicle car solutions for over 100 years. This time, they created a product that can be used not only for RVs but for boats, personal watercraft, and pontoons as well.
Unlike other solutions, this product is rinse-free. You get to save more time, effort, and even water when using this. You just need to spray it on the surface and wipe it to immediately remove road grime, bird droppings, dust, and other elements.
It can be used both on dry and wet surfaces, making it easier for you to do the cleaning. After wiping out the dirt, it gives the surface a glossy finish and protects it from water beading.
Meguiar’s Wash-N-Wax is effective on fiberglass, plastic, clear coat, gel coat, glass, polished metals, and instrument panels.
It’s a fast and brilliant way to clean surfaces anywhere without using water. So you won’t have to wait to be home to remove any dirt. With a simple spray and wipe you can quickly keep your RV clean anytime, anywhere.
While this cleaner is known for boats, it also works well for RVs. It’s the only boat cleaner with real carnauba wax. It’s non-toxic and biodegradable which makes it safe to clean fiberglass, metal surfaces, and painted surfaces.
It’s easy to use with just one simple step. Since it’s not harsh on the RV’s paint, it lowers the risk of fading and chafing while protecting it from harmful elements such as dirt and grime.
What’s impressive about this premium-grade cleaner is that it replenishes the wax while you are doing the washing. It leaves surfaces sparkly clean and reduces the need for waxing, thanks to its carnauba wax content.
Because this is primarily used on boats, you can rely on its ability to repel water. This makes it more cost-effective because it reduces how many times you need to wax your RV.
Furthermore, based on users’ reviews, it does a good job of cleaning their boats and RVs without leaving streaks behind.
Here’s another multi-purpose cleaner that can be used for RVs, any vehicles, motorcycles, and boats. It was discovered more than 30 years ago originally for aircraft, so it has aircraft quality and is biodegradable at the same time.
Its formulation is plant-based and gentle even on human skin. It also doesn’t cause irritation to the eyes, unlike other automotive cleaners.
What’s more appealing about Aero Cosmetics Car Wash is that it can be used waterless anytime, anywhere. Not only that, but it also comes as a kit so it already includes a gallon + 16 oz. Wash Wax ALL and 4 microfiber aero towels. There’s no need for you to buy the towels separately.
The 16 oz. cleaner is in a spray bottle that you can use anytime. You just have to spray it on the surface and wipe it dry using the microfiber towels. Wherever you are, it’s convenient for you to remove any visible dirt without hassle.
While you’re doing the cleaning, you’re also waxing the surface in just one easy step. It leaves an anti-static coating that protects from UV rays and other harmful elements. It makes cleaning easier and the RV stays clean for longer periods.
You can be assured of its quality because it meets Boeing & Airbus Aircraft cleaning specifications. It’s water-based and is free of alcohol and ammonia. Because of that, it’s safe to use on most surfaces such as rubber, plastic, leather, vinyl, aluminum, glass, paint, gel coat, and chrome among others. This means you can even use it on surfaces inside your RV.
You can use it two ways: waterless wash or wax as you dry. Nevertheless, it yields the same results.
If you’re not satisfied with its results, you can opt to have your money back in full. On the other hand, if your RV’s surface is already dull prior to using this product, you can also purchase Aero Cosmetics Polish ALL to repair and restore its glow.
So far, this is the most promising cleaner on this list.
This one-step cleaner works more than just wash and wax. It restores the color and brilliance of your RV’s surface. More than that, it repairs minor damages caused by oxidation, scratches, and swirls. Its anti-corrosive components also play a significant role because it fights rust and other damages.
Because it’s a marine product, it’s reliable in protecting your RV from corrosion, UV rays, and salt air. It removes dirt, repairs the defects, restores the RV’s brilliance, and protects it from future damages all at the same time.
You can choose to clean your RV by hand or by machine and the results will be the same.
Another promising cleaner, if I may say.
It’s a simple spray and wipe application that you can use anytime, no matter where you are. It contains advanced lubricating components that wrap around the dirt and allows you to wipe it off without causing damages to the paint.
This wash and wax kit offers yet another waterless solution for your RV’s surface cleaning needs. You don’t have to use buckets and hoses to clean your RV after a trip.
Its nanotech polymers form a coating in the surface to protect it from water spots and water beading. It also blocks UV rays from harming the paint, which will be in effect for several weeks.
TriNova Wash and Wax is also good for cleaning trucks, boats, SUVs, and other vehicles. Half an ounce of this concentrate can make a full bottle of cleaner and is more than enough to clean a standard-sized vehicle 40 times.
A bottle of this product can make at least 30 squeeze bottles of cleaner. The micro towel is already included in the package. It’s definitely more cost-effective compared to other products.
And if you’re not satisfied with its performance, you get your money back in full.
Another way to quickly clean your RV while shining and protecting it from harsh elements is by using Mothers 05674 California Gold Carnauba Wash & Wax. It eliminates stubborn dirt and road grime pretty fast. At the same time, it enhances the existing wax on your RV’s surface.
It’s a strong concentrate that is super lathery but has a quick rinse formula giving your RV a spotless shiny finish. It’s easy to use and doesn’t take much time to rinse off.
You can also use it between regular waxing to get the newly waxed look all thanks to its carnauba content. Because it’s biodegradable and pH-balanced, it’s non-abrasive and gentle on the paint.
Here’s another great product from Meguiar’s. It’s a fiberglass oxidation removal kit that works both on boats and RVs.
Basically, this kit is a three-step system that restores oxidized fiberglass surfaces and gel coats. One kit includes three 16 oz. bottles: oxidation remover, high gloss polish, and pure wax.
The oxidation remover helps eliminate the scratches, water spots, and oxidation stains from your RV’s surface. It restores the color and helps enhance shine and brilliance.
This is basically the first step in the restoration. You first clean the surface using the oxidation remover. Take note that while you are removing all the dirt, the solution also helps restore the color and brilliance of your recreational vehicle.
On the other hand, the high gloss polish ensures the restoration of beneficial oils to fortify the gel coat of your vehicle. It leaves a shiny finish, making your RV look newer than before you used this fiberglass restoration system.
This is the second step. You apply the polisher in thin and even layers and wipe it off before it dries to give the shine you are looking for.
Lastly, the pure wax contains a combination of pure Brazilian carnauba wax and is used to maintain the remarkable gloss of your rig. By applying this wax, you are giving your RV extra protection from damages caused by regular use.
This third and last step ensures your RV is protected from outside elements that can harm the surface. By doing so, you are adding a protective layer to guard the surface from future dirt and damages.
This wash and wax is another marine product originally for boats but works great on RV surfaces as well. It’s a hassle-free formula that leaves a brilliant shine on many surfaces.
It’s formulated to easily remove grime, scum, and salt spray. Because it works so well on salt spray and salt residue, it’s being used by many RVers to remove salt residue on their rigs during winter .
What’s beneficial about this marine wash and wax is that it’s biodegradable and environment-friendly. It forms foam fast so you won’t have to use too much of the solution in order to clean the dirt from your RV. Such benefit makes it economical and practical.
Another benefit is that while it’s effective in cleaning surfaces, it leaves a glossy finish to protect your boat or RV from external elements in the future. It doesn’t leave spots and streaks but leaves a nice smell instead.
What to Look for When Buying an RV Wash and Wax
I may have said this in my previous posts that having an RV is a responsibility. It needs more than just regular car washing and waxing.
You may think it’s just like a car, only bigger. But once you start having a deeper understanding of what having an RV really is like, you’ll begin to realize it needs more attention and care.
Therefore, an RV’s maintenance should be one of your priorities if you want to have it around for a great deal of time. One basic thing you can do is to stop treating your rig like a regular vehicle because it’s not.
Regular car soaps don’t work as well as when they are used in RVs. Having the best RV wash and wax product may sound simple but it’s really a great thing to have to keep your vehicle in great shape as long as possible.
There are so many options in the market when it comes to these products and the aim of this post is to help you narrow down your choices. I know I have already listed down the top 12, but to save you more time in picking out what will really work best for you, here are a few things you should consider.
Versatility. If you have an RV, chances are you also have another vehicle at home. For this reason, it’s important that you look for a product that you can use on surfaces other than that of your RV.
This can cut some of your expenses if you have a product that you can also use on your truck, car, or motorcycle. Instead of buying a cleaner for each vehicle, you can just buy one and use it for all.
Abrasiveness. One common mistake in purchasing a wash and wax product is looking for the strongest one without considering its abrasiveness. There are some products that are good in eliminating dirt but damages the paint.
It’s important to consider how effective the product is both in getting rid of dirt and protecting your vehicle’s paint at the same time. Look for non-abrasive products as they don’t contain harmful chemicals that can cause scratches and other damages.
Looking into reviews will help, too, as they are written by users having actual experiences with the product. And, if you can find its scratching test results, you’ll also have an idea of how it will work on your rig.
If you have clear-coated surfaces, note that some products make these surfaces look cloudy. So you have to consider that as well.
Biodegradability. Having a non-abrasive wash and wax isn’t enough. It’s also important to use something that’s biodegradable and eco-friendly. Look into the label for more information and see if it’s something that fits this requirement.
Effectivity. Sometimes we mistake this for just something that works. In my opinion, it should be something that works and takes effect for a long time.
This is critical because if you’re looking for something practical, then don’t spend on something that is not long-lasting. So take the time to read the labels to see if the information is there.
If you can’t find anything specific from the labels, there’s a possibility that the manufacturer doesn’t want to divulge it because it may not last that long. Based on experience, products with specific descriptions are more effective than those with missing info.
For benefit of the doubt, you can look for reviews or anything you can find to see how long they will last. But if you’re in a rush, directly go for a product that has this info ready.
Protection against UV rays. Wash and wax products are especially known for its cleaning and polishing purposes. However, a great product does not just stop there.
If you want the best for your RV, consider something that offers protection against UV rays aside from cleaning and polishing. This is important because such a function helps you protect your vehicle from oxidation and discoloration.
Protects your RV’s decals. We’ve talked about products that can protect your RV’s paint from UV rays. But you should also include in your list something that can protect the custom graphics of your rig.
The key things to look out for are its cleaning and protecting properties.
The key things to look out for are its cleaning and protecting properties. There are products that can do more harm than good on your decals so you should stay away from those.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is an RV Wash and Wax?
An RV wash and wax is a product that is specially formulated to clean and polish both the outside and inside of your RV. In essence, it is a cleaning agent that is combined with waxing properties for dual purposes.
It is basically used to remove a number of external elements that can harm your vehicle’s paint such as road grime, dust, mud, bird droppings, grease, and dried bugs. At the same time, it works as a polishing agent that gives your RV a deep shine and could work as a UV inhibitor as well.
Wash and wax formulas are designed to give protective layers to the recreational vehicles to prevent discoloration and oxidation. Unlike other regular detergents, it does not strip off the wax from the surface. Instead, it enhances the brilliance and leaves it shiny and looking new.
A great property of the best products is the ability to get rid of any dirt without damaging the RV’s protective coatings and at the same time prolong the shine using just one product.
How Does an RV Wash and Wax Work?
As mentioned, a wash and wax is a formula that is a cleaner and polisher in one used to remove road grime, grease, bird droppings, and other dirt. At the same time, it leaves a deep shine to the surface of the RV. In other cases, there are products that also add a protective layer to the surface to repel water and UV rays.
Application of most of these products requires a sponge, micro towel, soft brush, and buckets of water. However, there are no-rinse formulas that do not require water at all. In these cases, the application is done in such a way that you just spray the formula and wipe it dry with a micro towel.
Since these products already contain wax, then in most cases there is no need to do a separate waxing unless you really need or want to. The protective layer it brings helps the paint keep its color and brilliance for long.
What are the different types of RV wash and wax?
There are hundreds of wash and wax products in the market and there are several types of them. Depending on the manufacturer, the main components of the products would differ from one another.
The most common kinds you will find are the ones that have emulsifier, polymer, and carnauba wax. These are normally used as cleaning agents.
On the other hand, the type would also differ according to use and application. Some products are applied using a spray and then wiped with a microfiber cloth. These are usually rinse-free formulas.
There are also products that need to be diluted prior to application, to be scrubbed on the surface using soft-bristled brush, then rinsed with water. These are the ones that create suds when applied.
Most of these wash and wax products also work as UV inhibitors that protect the surface from the sun’s harmful rays.
On the other hand, you can also set products apart depending on if they are biodegradable or not. To know all these, checking the label would be helpful.
What are good brands of RV wash and wax?
There are a number of brands in the market today. Each brand has different things to offer so you’re sure to find something that will suit your needs.
If you’re looking for rinse-free kits, Aero Cosmetics and Meguiar’s are the top-recommended brands you can check out. They are easy to use and don’t need water so you can clean your RV anytime no matter where you are.
Another popular brand is Gel-Gloss. It’s highly concentrated and is probably the only one that uses bar soap in their formula. It’s highly concentrated, eco-friendly, and biodegradable. Although it’s not a waterless solution, it’s quite economical because a quart of this product can make up to 16 gallons of RV cleaner.
If you’re looking for something that is quite strong for the dirt but works to protect the surface at the same time, Camco is the brand you should try. Their marine solutions are great in removing grease and grime yet are able to provide water repellent properties to your RV’s surface.
Aside from these brands, you can also rely on some other brands such as Thetford, TriNova, Mothers, and Star Brite.
What do you wash your RV with?
For waterless kits, all you need is a microfiber cloth to wipe off the dirt. You just spray the dirty area with the solution and wipe it off after a few seconds.
For the sudsy solutions, you will need some other items like a bucket, hose, soft sponge or brush, and a chamois. Except for chamois, all the items are used in cleaning the dirt. The chamois is what you will then use to wipe the RV dry with the help of a dryer if you have one.
An RV polish would also be a great thing to use to add an extra layer of protection if you want to.
How often do you need to use an RV wash and wax on your RV?
Regular use of wash and wax will help you ensure your RV looks shiny and new for a long time. At least twice or thrice a year would be a good frequency in applying wash and wax products on your rig.
But if your trips are more frequent and you go home with bug deposits, nasty grime, and dried mud all the time, it would be good to wash your RV even if you’ve exceeded the three times a year frequency.
Do not let stubborn dirt sit on your RV for a long time or they might leave stains and spots permanently. More frequent washing as needed will help you keep your vehicle clean and well-maintained so don’t hold back in doing so.
How do you clean the exterior of an RV/camper/trailer/motorhome?
It doesn’t really require rocket science to clean an RV’s exterior but there are some things you need to consider when doing it.
First, park the RV somewhere away from direct sunlight. Spray it with water using a hose to remove the dust.
Using a soft brush or sponge, apply the right amount of RV wash and wax from top to bottom. Make sure to rinse areas with stubborn dirt a little extra but not too much that can create scratches. Rinse thoroughly and dry the area with a soft cloth.
These steps are quite simple so it shouldn’t give you the hassle in cleaning. But you have to be mindful of below reminders:
- Do not use extreme pressure when spraying water on the RV
- Refrain from using hot water as well
- Use a ladder in climbing up and down the RV’s roof
- Do not scrub an area too much to avoid scratches
- Be sure to use the correct product. For example, if you’re cleaning fiberglass surfaces, do not use cleaners for metal surfaces
- Don’t forget to check the package for instructions
- Only soft cloth and brushes should be used
What are other tips for washing RV exteriors?
Besides getting a good wash and wax product from a reputable brand, there are some other tips that can help you ensure your RV is in top shape.
- Avoid power washers as much as you can. RVs are better off without those tools and are best cleaned when hand washed to protect the vehicle’s finish.
- Refrain from using extra-strong concentrates that might be harmful to the paint.
- Test the product on a tiny, not too visible area of your vehicle and see if it works well on the surface. If not, then don’t force it on your RV, or else you will find irreversible damages that you might regret later.
- A brush with an extendable handle is helpful in making sure you cover all the areas on the roof.
- If you have time constraints in cleaning the whole rig in one day, try cleaning it one area at a time.
- If using a power polisher, make sure not to use it too strongly. The milder you use it, the better.
- Do not forget about the RV’s graphics. Take the decals into consideration when buying your wash and wax.
- Be gentle in scrubbing the area where the decals are.
- Be religious in wiping the rig after washing to avoid streaks and water spots.
You’ve now seen how important it is not to use just any product in cleaning your RV. Consider getting a good wash and wax as an investment.
I hope you find this product helpful in your quest for the next wash and wax product for your vehicle. If there’s anything else I wasn’t able to cover in this post, drop a comment below and I’d be happy to look into it. Or, just leave a message and let me know your top pick. Either way, I’d be happy to hear from you.